Dr. Banjo » Videos » Beginning Bluegrass Banjo

Best Seller! Two-hour video + tab. Months’ worth of learning, just $30.00.

A step-by-step method based on 20 years teaching. Split-screen closeups, fast/slow repetitions make video learning best!

“A gifted instructor…. convincing evidence that video is the ideal medium for teaching beginners. All you need to begin playing banjo, presented in a logical, clear and comprehensible manner by one of bluegrass music’s best-known banjo pickers and teachers.”
— Bluegrass Unlimited

You’ll Learn:

  • Basic left hand technique: chords, slides, pull-offs, etc.
  • 6 standard right hand rolls and their variants.
  • 4 elementary arrangements using just one roll each!
  • How to create a basic solo. Pete takes you through each part.
  • 16 essential licks and how to use them.
  • 7 intermediate arrangements: Little Maggie, Mountain Dew, Lonesome Road Blues, etc.
  • Backup techniques, practice exercises, more!

Published Reviews

Comments from Satisfied Customers

Bluegrass Unlimited, by Frank Godbey


Peter Wemick is well known throughout the bluegrass world for his role as banjo picker in Hot Rize. He is also a gifted instructor, as those who have attended his workshops will attest, and his book Bluegrass Banjo, is a well-established favorite among students of all levels.

Beginning Bluegrass Banjo features Pete “Dr. Banjo” Wemick in a two-hour program consisting of several segments, or lessons, which carry the beginning banjo student from the “which way do the picks go on” stage to a point where, if he/she has applied himself/herself, the students should at least be able to play through several songs and, with luck and/or talent, maybe even actually sound like something. Obviously, the more time and effort spent the more satisfactory the results.

Wernick’s approach differs from other begin­ning banjo material in that he bases his instruction on songs rather than banjo tunes—instead of “Cripple Creek” he presents “Mama Don’t ‘Low” and “Colum­bus Stockade Blues” replaces “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.” After the introduction of basic roll pat­terns Pete moves to “Buffalo Gals” and proceeds to strum the chord changes while singing the song. This effectively establishes the rhythmic patterns and the timing of the piece before any attempt is made to play the actual melody. The next step is playing the tune, which is demonstrated by integrating the basic rolls with where they go in relationship to the words of the song; Pete bravely continues to sing as he progresses toward the end.

We are led through more songs and introduced to more roll patterns and licks and, as the (video) progresses, we gather quite an arsenal of material. Although the songs get more complicated and the arrangements get more complex, Pete breaks each one down into its components and demonstrates slow, medium and fast versions at every logical point. By the end of the (video) the student has been exposed to almost everything needed to play bluegrass banjo.

”Beginning Bluegrass Banjo” pro­vides convincing evidence that video is the ideal medium for teaching beginners. The teacher only has to go through it once, never becoming frustrated by non-practicing students; and the student can play and replay any segment as many times as he wants until it all becomes clear. Thanks to the use of split-screen camera techniques it is easy to watch at one time what both hands are doing.

Beyond instruction in the basics this (video) is full of interesting little asides and humorous effects. Like com­mercial television, there is an occasional pitch for banjo instructional material; Pete mentions not only his own materials but those of others as well. He also recom­mends examples of recorded bluegrass and frequently mentions the importance of Earl Scruggs in the Grand Banjo Plan. There is even a demonstration of guitar and banjo interaction featuring Homespun Tapes founder Happy Traum playing along with Pete and at the end we are treated to a brief clip from a Hot Rize concert.

Accompanying the video is a short booklet of tablature illustrating the rolls, licks and songs Pete plays on the (video).

For the price of a couple of months of private lessons this (video) gives access to all you need to know to begin playing the banjo, presented in a logical, clear and comprehendible manner by one of bluegrass music’s best-known banjo pickers and teachers.

“Your instructional video ‘Beginning Bluegrass Banjo’ is helping me more I thought it would. My grandfather used to play the banjo and I’m trying to keep the instrument alive within my family. Your video was a godsend and I just wanted to say thank you.”

“I have your two instructional videos and I have to say they are in a class of their own. Amazing!!! I have learned so much!!!”
“I started playing Banjo in April of this year and much of my progress to date was with your help, before I found a Teacher here in the UK. I got a copy of your videos for beginners and learnt some basics which probably saved me a lot of money on one to one lessons to start with!”
“Since finding this Instrument it’s actually been a life changing experience.”
“Many Thanks for your initial instruction, i’m truly grateful.”